Anger over 'betrayal' of fishing fleet
Fishing industry leaders have reacted angrily to the UK Government's 'betrayal' of the industry after Britain agreed to abide by the quotas during the transition period following Brexit.
UK Minister David Davis and his European counterpart Michel Barnier announced the agreement last week, and will be subject to EU quotas throughout the 21-month transition period without British representation in setting quotas.
The deal came just a week after Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove declared that the UK would leave the Common Fisheries Policy in March 2019.
Fishing industry leaders accused the UK Government of trading away sovereignty over British waters during the transition phase, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed it was a ‘massive sell-out’ by the Tories.
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong reacted angrily to the news, saying it had fallen ‘far short’ of an acceptable deal.
He said: “We will leave the EU and leave the CFP, but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later.
“Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the EU for another two years.
“To our politicians we say this: some have tried to secure a better deal but our governments have let us down. As a consequence, we expect a written, cast-iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the EU continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual Coastal States negotiations.”
Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said the Tories had 'sold out' Scottish fishing and abandoned their promises to the industry.
Mr Stevenson said: “The Tories have sold out the fishing communities in Banffshire and Buchan Coast and across Scotland once again – and Ruth Davidson should be shame-faced for her fastest broken Brexit promise yet.
“Just last week she said ‘Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019’.
“Now we know not only will the UK have to abide by CFP rules during the transition period, it will lose the voting rights it has now. The Tories have delivered the worst possible outcome for Scotland’s fishing industry.
“The Tories have demonstrated once again that for them that communities like the Banffshire and Buchan Coast are expendable.
“They are so arrogant they now think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.”
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said he shared the industry's 'frustration and disappointment' adding it was now crucial that full fisheries control was secured at the end of the transition period.
He said he would continue to meet with and engage Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister herself this week, to continue putting forward the case for British fishermen.
"I have publicly stated before that I cannot and will not vote for any deal that does not deliver for our fishermen," he said.